Ambassador Angelos Pangratis
Deputy Head of Delegation, European Commission to the
United States, Washington, D.C.
The Future of EU-US
Political and Economic Relationship.
Pangratis started his briefing by offering the historical
background of the European Union (EU). The EU, he said,
started as a reaction to wars that claimed 75 million lives
in the 20th century. The EU’s basic aim was
simple, to make such wars impossible. The EU also grew out
from a process of economic integration of Europe. Our
speaker underlined the fact that the European Union is not
an empire of any specific people, they are an empire of the
rule-of-law. It is the union of states in the EU, but it is
not a state, although it has some elements of a state.
Also, it is not an international organization, because its
members remain sovereign states. It is a unique example of
an organization where the participating member states gave
up a portion of their sovereignty, so that the they can act
together in the EU, voluntarily.
EU has 457 million people in its 25 countries, said
Ambassador Pangratis, and soon the addition of two
new countries will give the Union a total of 500
million people. The EU’s GDP is slightly higher
than that of the United States, but is always ready
and willing to work closely with the United States’
economy. Our economic and trade relations with the
U.S. is steadily growing, said the Ambassador. We
call this concept “Transatlantic Economic
Cooperation.” In modern economies, new rules and
regulations are needed; the United States and the EU
need to be economically integrated just like the
different EU countries have become integrated.
Europeans investment in Mississippi is about 3.5
billion dollars. Around 35,000 high quality jobs in
Mississippi are supported by EU investment money.
Ambassador spoke at great length about EU-U.S.
cooperation on anti-terrorism. He briefed the ELF
membership by saying that today Europol (the police
forces of the EU) are working closely with their
American counterparts, and Europe is trying to learn
from American experiences. The European Union is
also working actively to combat terrorism around the
world. For example, in Afghanistan, the Europeans
provide 80% of the troops in the NATO International
Security Force. This means that the Europeans have
sent, as of today, more than 20,000 military
personnel and military police to the NATO forces.
Last year, the EU and its member states donated
more than five billion Euros to support the Kabul
government in Afghanistan. On the other hand, Iraq
was a very difficult issue. When the war started,
many Europeans were against it, because they
believed that military action would not solve the
problem. Within the last year, said the Ambassador,
an important threshold was crossed. Even those
Europeans, who were convinced that the war was a bad
idea, now accept that it is very important that
democracy prevails. In fact,” concluded Ambassador
Pangratis, “today, we are very active in Iraq, to
try to contribute to the reconstruction. We
welcomed and supported the new Iraqi government, and
we are actively trying to strengthen our
relationship through political dialogue. We are
also developing trade cooperation with the new Iraqi